Here are some links for further reading, as mentioned in my talk for the NZ Alpine Club ice climbing course: “Tips & Trick for Technical Ice Climbing”.
The links cover some of the content I would typically teach on the NZAC’s ice climbing course: “Leading on technical ice”. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means but attempts to get across some principles that may improve your climbing and decision making.
No short cuts to skill improvement
Unfortunately, there’s no real short cut to improving your ice climbing apart from more climbing more routes. However, being mindful of technique and experimenting (when safe to do so) could mean the routes climbed have more valuable learning than without a conscious process.
Reflection can be a useful tool to improve decision making and strategy. E.g. was the climb a good route to do? If so (or not) what information did I know (miss) that was significant. How did the climb go and what would I do different if I did it again?
Or, if people are doing other routes ask yourself, would I do that route at that time? Why or why not? Think of the conditions on the approach, route, descent, and the trend in conditions at that time.
A guide can be really useful
I’d really encourage people to get some training by an NZMGA guide who specialises in ice climbing courses and has a strong instruction background. This gives you the chance to experiment and compare different techniques for yourself on actual water ice. Having a mentor is also a real asset if you can find a good one willing help your progression up through the grades.
Now to the links:
Strategy & Safety
Petzl research on Ice pillar collapse risks: